Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maersk Pembroke - hard driven ship

1. Maersk Pembroke passes Herring Cove outbound for sea.

The Maersk Line is noted for its hard driving and today's visitor Maersk Pembroke certainly shows the signs. On of four ships maintaining a weekly transatlantic schedule for Maersk, the ship earns its keep.

Built in 1998 as P&O Nedlloyd Sydney (Maersk took over P&O Nedlloyd) the ship has a capacity of 2890 TEU in a hull of 31,333 gross tons. A relatively small ship by container ship standards today, it caters to refrigerated cargo, with its essentially identical sisters Maersk Patras, Maersk Palermo and Maersk Penang.

The ships maintain the following rotation: Halifax, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Montreal, Halifax. Spending only a few hours in any given port, there is a ship in Halifax each Saturday. As foreign flag vessels, the are not permitted to carry cargo between Canadian ports.

In an interesting turn of events, CMA/CGM, which has ceased calling in Halifax, but has a slot arrangement with Maersk, has 100 empty containers in Montreal, which it wishes to transport to Halifax. It has applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency for a coasting license to use Maersk Penang to transport the boxes to Halifax February 15-18. It remains to be seen if any Canadian shipping companies have ships available for this work. If not, we may see a number of CMA/CGM boxes arrive next weekend on the regular Maersk ship visit.

In September of last year Maersk Line Canada made similar application to carry 100 empty containers from Montreal to Halifax, but was not granted a coasting license because two Canadian shipping companies were deemed to have ships available. The two objectors, McKeil Marine and Algoma Central Corp do not own container ships. McKeil has barges that could carry containers. Algoma would have to use bulk carriers that have no container fittings on deck.

Now that it is winter, and McKeil's barges and Algoma's bulkers are in seasonal layup, it will be interesting to see what happens.



  1. Desgagnes have ANNA and CAMILLA and the NEAS has AVATAQ, UMIAVUT and AIVIK laid-up in Montréal. AIVIK is slated to have a load of locomotives in late feb/early March so she could be reactivated easily. All ships have container fittings.

  2. Vessels not calling at Le Havre anymore, too many strikes and work stoppages.

  3. The four CSL bulkers (former fednav) ships could do this, they are all in Montreal.

  4. It would be interesting to learn if CN has offered, or if Maersk has inquired about CN's "Domestic Repositioning Program" for these empty cans. CN has been doing this between Central Canada and the US Midwest, and the West Coast for over a year now.
    Basically they're taking shipping lines' containers that would typically either return empty to Asia or at least have to move from Central Canada to Western Canada to be loaded, and filling them with domestic traffic for Western Canada. With China buying up forest products like nobody's business, most of the containers get re-loaded in Western Canada before they're loaded aboard ships for Asia.
    If even 25% of the domestic business between Central Canada and the Maritimes was moved this way they'd have all of the empty cans in Nova Scotia and New Bunswick within a week or so.
    It's really a win-win for both sides in that CN doesn't need to expand it's own fleet of containers as quickly as it might have to otherwise, and the shipping lines get paid for the use of their containers rather than paying to move them empty. The only downside is added time for the extra loading and unlaoding, but given that it's 3 days from Montreal to Halifax for the ships and approximately 24 hours by rail, that difference would probably be minimal.